Russ is a tradition and cultural phenomenon in Norway. Students graduating from upper secondary school celebrate with characteristic festivities. During this time, the graduates are called russ.
The festivities officially start on May 1., and last until May 17., the Norwegian Constitution Day (National Day of Norway). On that day, the graduates commonly celebrate the end of secondary school with parades. However, the final exams take place after May 17. Those who fail can choose to be russ again on their next attempt on graduation. In earlier years, exams were held ahead of May 17, but were moved in an attempt to reduce the extensive russ celebrations. This has proved largely unsuccessful.
The most common russ uniform consists of overalls or jumpsuits, colored according to field of study and decorated with iron-on patches. Common accessories include bamboo sticks, whistles and a student cap with a string for attaching knots. This cap is normally not used before the "russ baptism", which is usually held during the night before May 1. There are several local variants of the uniform. It is customary not to wash the uniform during the 3-week celebration.
Many local variations of the festivities (No: russefeiring) exist, but the spirit of the celebration remains uniform across the country; it is a symbol of breaking free from the necessary shackles handed down by parents intended well-being and protection of the young generation. It marks accomplishing high school even as the festivities take place prior to the final exams, and is also a rite of passage, an abrupt way of ending childhood and entering into adulthood.
The word rus is believed to stem from Latin cornua depositurus 'bound to put aside one's horns', in the sense of going to sow one's wild oats. In Norwegian, an extra s is added according to Norwegian spelling rules.